In communicating with the players on the court, I find it extremely helpful to precede constructive criticism with praise. I use what I like to call the ‘sandwich technique.’ First, I compliment an aspect of the player’s performance, then I slip in the constructive comment, and then I top it off with more praise.
An example of this is, ‘Hey, Bill, great rebound! But you didn’t look up. And if you had, we had someone wide open who could have triggered the break. But you did a great job of protecting the ball, and that at least assured us of the possession.’
The two things people like to hear the most are the sound of their own name and a compliment — preferably together. So when talking to your players, if you call their name and pay them a compliment, you know you’re going to have their full attention. And that is communication as it’s best.
—Adapted from Morgan Wootten’s Coaching Basketball Successfully